Did you know that in Canada, one in eight people will experience a slip and fall accident at some point in their lives?
Of those who are injured in a slip and fall, 20% will suffer moderate to severe injuries that will have a lasting impact on their lives.
No one wants to consider the possibility of being injured in a slip and fall accident. But slips and falls are quite common and can happen to anyone anytime.
If you find yourself the victim of a slip and fall, it’s important to know what to do next. Here are some tips from our experienced Ottawa personal injury lawyers (also referred to as slip and fall lawyers, injury lawyers, and accident lawyers).
What is a slip and fall accident?
The definition of a slip and fall accident depends on the jurisdiction, but typically, it is defined as an accident that occurs when a person slips or trips and falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property.
There are many different types of slip and fall accidents, but they all share one common factor: they could have been prevented if the property owner had taken the proper precautions.
For example, a slip and fall on a wet floor could have been prevented if the floor had been properly mopped and marked with a wet floor sign. A trip and fall on an icy sidewalk could have been prevented if the property owner had shovelled the sidewalk in a timely manner.
What to do immediately after a slip and fall accident
If you’ve been involved in a slip and fall accident, you first should seek medical attention, even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured. Some injuries, such as concussions, may not be immediately apparent.
Once you’ve seen a doctor, or if your fall injuries are not serious enough to warrant seeing a doctor, you should take the following steps:
Take pictures of the scene of the accident, as well as any injuries you sustained. If there are witnesses, get their contact information.
Notify the property owner
If you were injured on someone else’s property, whether commercial or residential, you should notify the owner as soon as possible. If there’s no one on the property at the time, leave a note or send a certified letter.
Don’t wash your clothes or clean up the scene of the accident, as this could destroy evidence that could be used to support your claim.
Speak to a lawyer
Slip and fall accidents can be complex, and it’s important to have experienced legal representation on your side. Fall accident lawyers will be able to help you gather evidence, determine who is liable, and negotiate with insurance companies.
What are the most common types of slip and fall accidents?
There are many different types of slip and fall accidents, but some are more common than others. The most common types of slip and fall accidents include:
Slips on wet or icy surfaces
These types of accidents often occur in winter, when sidewalks and parking lots are covered in snow and ice. They can also occur in businesses, such as restaurants, where there are wet floors. Water from mopping, spills, leaky ceilings, and weather can all contribute to slick floors. Property owners are responsible for cleaning up spills and mopping floors in a timely manner, as well as placing wet floor signs when necessary.
Falls on icy or snowy sidewalks
Another common type of slip and fall is caused by icy or snowy sidewalks. In Canada, property owners are responsible for clearing their sidewalks within a reasonable timeframe after a snowfall. If they don’t, they could be held liable for any accidents that occur as a result.
Falls on defective stairs
If stairs are poorly designed or maintained, they can pose a serious slip and fall hazard. Property owners are responsible for ensuring that their stairs are up to code and in good repair.
Falls due to tripping hazards
Another common type of slip and fall case is caused by tripping hazards, such as loose carpeting, cords, and small objects in walkways. Property owners are responsible for keeping their premises free of these hazards.
Trips on uneven surfaces
Uneven pavement, potholes, and raised sidewalks can all cause trip and fall accidents. These hazards are often the result of poor maintenance or repair.
Falls from heights
Falls from ladders, scaffolding, and roofs are all too common. These accidents can be prevented by ensuring that proper safety equipment is used and that there is someone to spot the person working at heights.
What are some common slip and fall injuries?
In some cases, the injuries from a slip and fall accident can be permanent, resulting in a lifetime of pain and suffering. This is why it’s so important to seek medical attention after a slip and fall, even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured.
Can you file a personal injury claim for a slip and fall in Ontario?
Yes, you can file a fall claim in Ontario. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the property owner or occupier.
To succeed in a slip and fall lawsuit, you will need to prove that the property owner or occupier was negligent. This means that they failed to take reasonable care to prevent or repair the hazard that caused your accident and personal injury.
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact fall injury lawyers to find out if you have a case.
What are the exceptions to the law?
A few exceptions to the law may apply in your case. For example, if you were trespassing on the property where you were injured, or if you were injured while participating in a dangerous activity, the property owner or occupier may not be held liable.
If you’re unsure whether the exceptions apply in your case, speak to a personal injury lawyer. They will be able to assess your case and advise you of your legal options.
Municipal property accidents vs. private property accidents
The law governing slip and fall accidents differs for municipal and private property.
For accidents that occur on municipal property, such as a sidewalk or public park, you will need to prove that the municipality was negligent in its maintenance of the property. This can be difficult to do, as municipalities have a high standard of care.
For accidents that occur on private property, such as a grocery store or office building, you will need to prove that the property owner or occupier was negligent in its maintenance of the property. This is easier to do as private property owners have no high standard of care.
If you’re unsure whether the property where you were injured is municipal or private, speak to a personal injury lawyer.
How to determine damages in a slip and fall lawsuit
The amount of damages you can recover in a slip and fall lawsuit will depend on the severity of your injuries and the impact they have on your life.
For example, if you suffered a minor fall injury that has healed, you may only be able to recover the cost of your medical bills. However, if you suffered a serious fall injury that has left you with a permanent disability, you may be able to recover damages for your pain and suffering, as well as the cost of your medical bills and lost wages.
If you’re unsure how much your case is worth, speak to personal injury lawyers. They will be able to assess your injuries and advise you of your legal options.
What to expect when filing a personal injury claim for a slip and fall
When you file a personal injury claim for a slip and fall, you can expect the insurance company to investigate your accident. The insurance adjuster will likely contact you to get your side of the story and may even visit the scene of the accident.
The insurance company will also look at your medical records and speak to your treating doctors to assess the severity of your injuries. Once the insurance company has all the information it needs, it will make a settlement offer.
If you’re not happy with the settlement offer, you can negotiate with the insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, you should consult personal injury lawyers before accepting any settlement offer to ensure you’re getting fair compensation.
What is the statute of limitations for filing a slip and fall claim in Ontario?
This means that if you want to sue for slip and fall, you must do so within two years of the date of the accident. If you don’t, you will likely be barred from doing so.
If you’re considering suing for slip and fall, you should be aware that most property owners and occupiers have insurance covering these types of accidents.
This means that if you win your slip and fall case, it’s likely that the insurance company, rather than the property owner or occupier, will be responsible for paying your damages.
However, insurance companies are notorious for lowballing settlements and denying claims. This is why it’s important to have personal injury lawyers on your side who can negotiate with the insurance company and get you the settlement you deserve.
What are some common defences to slip and fall claims?
There are a few common defences that property owners or occupiers may use if they’re being sued for a slip and fall accident. These defences include:
You assumed the risk
This defence may be used if the property owner or occupier can show that you were aware of the hazard that caused your accident and chose to ignore it.
The hazard was not unreasonable
This defence may be used if the property owner or occupier can show that the hazard was not unreasonable under the circumstances.
You caused your own accident
This defence may be used if the property owner or occupier can show that you were negligent and that your negligence contributed to your accident.
How fall accident lawyers can help you
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be wondering if you need to hire help from a fall injury lawyer. The answer is that it depends on the severity of your injuries and the circumstances of your accident. It’s also important to note that fall injury lawyers are called personal injury lawyers. Injury lawyers handle all types of personal injury claims, including slip and fall claims.
If your injuries are minor and you’re not sure who was at fault for the accident, you may not need a lawyer. However, if your injuries are serious or you’re sure that the property owner or occupier was at fault, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer.
A personal injury lawyer will be able to assess your slip and fall accident case and advise you of your legal options. They can also help you negotiate with the insurance company and get you the settlement you deserve.
Tips for preventing slip and fall accidents
There are a few simple things you can do to help prevent slip and fall accidents:
Wear proper footwear
Shoes with good traction will help reduce your risk of slipping on wet or icy surfaces.
Be aware of your surroundings
Pay attention to your surroundings and watch for hazards like wet floors or uneven surfaces.
Use caution when working at heights
If you’re working at heights, use proper safety equipment and have someone spot you to help prevent a fall.
Keep your home safe
Regularly check your home for hazards, such as loose carpeting or loose handrails, and fix them to help prevent accidents.
If you see a hazard on someone else’s property, notify the owner as soon as possible. This will help prevent someone else from being injured in an accident.
We hope these tips will help you prevent slip and fall accidents. However, if you do find yourself injured in an accident, contact one of our Ottawa personal injury lawyers to discuss your legal options.